QuarkWorks: Meet the Team Series — Miranda Reese

Being on the marketing team that handles these ‘Meet the Team’ posts means that sometimes you’re writing an article about yourself! Anyway, I hope that you enjoy getting to know the person behind some of the designs over at QuarkWorks.

Name:

Miranda Reese

Role:

UX/UI Designer

When did you join QuarkWorks and what led you to take on this position?

It’s been about two years since I started working here. Funny enough, I met Brandon at an iOS class during my undergrad. He started talking to me about design and eventually brought up that the company was looking for a new designer. We did a very casual interview, and I started part-time while I finished the rest of my Computer Science degree. Once I graduated, I upgraded to the full-time schedule and been having a blast ever since!

What excites and energizes you about the company?

I love being able to work on such a variety of projects all at once. Being a contracting agency, we don’t always know what we’re going to get. I’ve gotten to do a pretty big range of projects, from small 404 pages to design reworks to starting from complete scratch. And getting to meet clients is always fun! You’re definitely working more on your communication and presentation skills with each case. I also joined the recruiting and marketing teams, so I get to be creative with our social media posts and more involved with the company.

What has been your favorite project to work on or are currently working on?

I really enjoyed getting to revamp QuarkWorks’ website. Not that it was bad before (in fact, I did a couple web pages for that too!), but it was time for a new direction. This was probably my induction into being a full-fledged designer here since we spent quite awhile getting the process right, and I got scarred from the phrase “it’s a good start.” But it was also one of the first projects where I looked back on my initial designs and realized how much I had grown as a designer. Don’t worry, I’ve still got a lot more to go ahead of me!

Roots N Blues was a mobile app I did some redesign for during the summer and fall of 2018. It’s for a local music festival that we attended back in September after wrapping up, so it was really cool seeing the app in use in real time. Plus, I’d been reading about these artists all summer and was excited to hear them in person!

Currently, we’ve been doing a pretty neat project that involves some robotics and autonomous control, but I don’t think I can fully share who it’s with just yet! But I did get to co-design the interface with their designer. It was a good lesson in collaboration and while we’re gearing up for version two, I’m really proud of seeing everything we came up with actually be implemented and working in action!

Advice you would give someone working at a startup?

You’re going to get back what you put in. If you just want to go in at 9am, do your typical routine, then leave at 5pm, that’s fine too. But if you are consistently going the extra mile, it’s going to payoff and you’ll get more opportunities, especially with being a team lead! With these though, you also need to develop your self-motivation skills to get through the tough days. You’ll have more autonomy, but you’re going to have to figure out how to tackle problems on your own.

Also, if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to ask some questions. At appropriate times and intervals, of course. Don’t annoy your manager with every hiccup that you encounter; see if you can solve it yourself first! It’s a balancing act, that’s for sure.

Lastly, learn a strategy for preventing/coping with burnout. Give yourself a chance to relax and have fun; don’t overwork yourself. You’ll have days that are more swamped than others, so enjoy the brief pauses between projects and just breathe. You’ll get thru it eventually.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I am attempting to get better at cooking, but really, I prefer baking. Especially desserts, although I’ll burn the edges of brownies sometimes! I’m trying to do a 52-week cooking challenge on Reddit this year (and yes, I’m several weeks behind), but it’s giving me a reason to experiment with new recipes.

I also play the occasional video game, though not as much as I used to. I’ll still fire up Skyrim, Borderlands, and most recently, Civilization 6. And maybe, once in awhile, I’ll go back onto League of Legends, but only when I know my friends are playing too. (usually as support or ADC)

Last fall, I started going to the gym with my coworker and now, I really enjoy it! You’d never hear me say that a few years ago, but health is something you should be more aware of, and it’s important to take care of your body.

You’ll find me doing an escape room or perusing a bookstore on the weekends. And maybe doing a little more hiking since the weather is getting nicer!

What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  1. I want to go cage diving with great white sharks one day. This slightly conflicts with my awful swimming skills and fear of sharks, but we’ll get there. Honestly though, sharks are my favorite animal, and I think they deserve our respect — they are fierce yet so majestic and wondrous. They are much more than the ‘killers’ we make them out to be.
  2. I want to eat at a 3-star Michelin restaurant at least once in my life. The closest one to Missouri would be Alinea in Chicago. Food has always been an integral part of my life and culture, and I love trying new things when I’m out and about.
  3. Lastly, I’d say to travel to every continent. So far, I can count North America, Asia, and most recently, Europe! Traveling is good for the soul; it really takes you out of your little bubble and humbles you in the most amazing ways. Experience the food, music, and language of as many countries as you can!

As ever, QuarkWorks is available to help with any software application project — web, mobile, and more! If you are interested in our services you can check out our website. We would love to answer any questions you have! Just reach out to us on our Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.